Hibee History: Griffiths at the double in relegation scrap

Leigh Griffiths grabbed a glory double as Hibs came from behind to win the relegation battle with basement outfit Dunfermline.

Saturday, 14th January 2017, 5:30 am
Leigh Griffiths is held aloft by fellow striker Garry OConnor after the final whistle

The victory eased Pat Fenlon’s side four points ahead of the Pars but it was a nail-biting affair in Fife as former Hearts striker Andy Kirk fired the home side ahead only for Griffiths to equalise.

Garry O’Connor stepped from the bench to put Hibs in front only for Pars substitute Liam Buchanan to equalise. But Hibs were ahead within 60 seconds, Griffiths wheeling to claim his second of the game with only seven minutes remaining to leave Dunfermline still without a win at home this season.

Hibs welcomed midfield powerhouse Isaiah Osbourne back after a five-match absence with new signing George Francomb, and Graham Stack on the bench.

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But the huge Hibs support behind Mark Brown’s goal were stunned into silence in the 13th minute as Dunfermline took the lead, and again it was the Easter Road outfit’s fragility at set-pieces which was their downfall, Kirk allowed to rise unchallenged to glance Joe Cardle’s free-kick into the net.

Martin Hardie almost made it two for the Pars nine minutes later, Brown superbly finger-tipping his free-kick wide of the target.

But Hibs hauled themselves back into the match and an extended period of possession was rewarded with a 33rd minute equaliser. Osbourne charged in only to see his shot blocked, the ball falling for David Wotherspoon who nodded it back in the direction of his team-mate. Osbourne, realising he was offside left the ball alone, allowing it to run through for Griffiths who needed no second invitation as he slammed a low shot across Iain Turner and into the far corner of the net.

The pace throughout the first half had been frenetic and there was no let up after the interval although both sets of players were prone to error, not helped by the constant whistle of referee Alan Muir who seemed intent on penalising every single bit of contact no matter how slight.

The game did spark into life again in the 57th minute as Osbourne embarked on a 50-yard run culminating in a powerful shot which Turner pushed aside, the Pars goalkeeper in action again two minutes later as he comfortably took another effort from Griffiths.

Dunfermline attempted to hit back with a low shot from Cardle which Brown took at his near post. Hibs then swept to the other end of the pitch to take the lead. Booth did the spade work before turning the ball inside for Griffiths who, with his back to goal, was aware of O’Connor outside him. He played a simple pass, giving his fellow striker the opportunity to drive the ball into the roof of the net for his 12th goal of the season. The home side threw everything into a grandstand finish with Michael Hart taking a Hardie header off the line but there was no-one there as Dunfermline equalised with eight minutes remaining, Hibs fan Liam Buchanan finding space to slide the ball home.

But, sensationally, Hibs raced to the other end where Griffiths turned to drive a low shot under the body of Turner to take the lead once again with seven minute remaining.

Hibs: Brown, Hart, Stephens, Hanlon, Booth, Sproule, Wotherspoon, Osbourne, Stevenson, Doyle, Griffiths. Subs not used: Stack, Towell, S Smith, Stanton.